“Each of your kids have had a different set of parents.” I heard this the other day and it kind of blew my mind, as it dawned on me how true it was. Because of the way that we grow in our parenthood or as individuals, because of how each child is different and faces different issues, and because of our different circumstances in each various stage, we parent each of our children differently and our kids have different experiences.
There’s a lot to unpack there that I need to continue to reflect on. But one thing I am cognizant of is my awareness of the temporal nature of these tiny years (or really, mere months).
My third is entering arguably a more “challenging” stage, where big feelings are becoming a thing, where she wants to move around everywhere but isn’t aware yet of what’s a hazard, where opinions are emerging but the communication skills aren’t quite there yet. In the past, this kicked off a physically exhausting season of navigating through tantrums or trying to keep up to keep them safe, and I remember feeling overwhelmed and stressed. But this time around, though the physical exhaustion is still there, I find myself able to stay more present, knowing how quickly in the grand scheme of things this will pass, and instead, actively savoring the precious nature of their littleness and curiosity. Babies really don’t keep, and I know I won’t have a little one to chase around and snuggle for long.
It’s also a salient reminder that the new challenges I face with the bigger ones, as daunting as they seem, might need to be approached in similar fashion. Those still feel overwhelming and stressful to me, perhaps because they continue to be new and uncharted waters. But it’s likely that those – though new for me – are normal rites of passage as well, and maybe I can try harder to be more present in those experiences. Because I’m getting a glimpse into how maybe there’s a chance I might miss parenting through those bigger kid 6- and 8-year-old moments one day too, no matter how tough they may feel in the current.